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[Images above] Credit: NIST


New study unveils formation secrets of tiny rare earth elements

Trinity College Dublin researchers showed how fluocerite can quickly form and then transform into bastnäsite. Scientists have struggled to study this mineral in nature because the crystallization process produces extremely tiny, nanometer-sized minerals. This new knowledge may lead to more efficient rare earth element extraction methods.

Scientists pioneer technique to visualize antiferroelectric materials on the nanoscale

University of Chicago researchers built on an advanced microscopy technique called polarization-dependent photoemission electron microscopy to visualize antiferroelectric materials on the nanoscale.

New method developed for measuring thermal expansion in atomically thin materials

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers developed a way to directly measure the thermal expansion coefficient of 2D materials. This insight can help address heat-related performance issues of materials used in microelectronics, such as computer chips.


Engineers develop AI algorithm for improving nuclear reactor performance

Purdue University researchers developed a machine learning algorithm that can learn about the physics of how steadily a small modular reactor is producing power and predict changes in this indicator over time with 99% accuracy. They believe this algorithm might help engineers achieve efficient reactor monitoring and control.

Waffle-shaped solar evaporator delivers durable desalination

Researchers developed a waffle-shaped solar evaporator made of a graphene-like porous monolith. The evaporator delivers a solar absorption of 98.5% and high evaporation rates of 1.43 kg/m2/h in pure water and 1.40 kg/m2/h in seawater.


Researchers patent a semiconductor compound with antimicrobial properties

Researchers at Jaume I University of Castelló and Federal University of São Carlos developed a process to obtain a semiconducting metal–carbon compound with excellent antimicrobial properties, stability, and low cytotoxicity.


New study confirms forever chemicals are absorbed through human skin

New research proves for the first time that a wide range of “forever” PFAS chemicals can permeate the skin barrier and reach the body’s bloodstream. It was believed PFAS could not breach the skin barrier, but recent studies showed links between the use of personal care products and PFAS concentrations in human blood and breast milk.

Atom-thin graphene membranes make carbon capture more efficient

Researchers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne developed advanced atom-thin graphene membranes with pyridinic-nitrogen at pore edges, showing unprecedented performance in CO2 capture.

Process stores carbon dioxide in concrete without strength loss

By using a carbonated rather than a still water-based solution during the concrete manufacturing process, researchers led by Northwestern University discovered a new way to store carbon dioxide in the ubiquitous construction material. In lab experiments, the process achieved a sequestration efficiency of up to 45%.

Enhancing concrete with bamboo fiber and recycled aggregate

Ningbo University researchers explored the properties of concrete synthesized using natural bamboo fibers and recycled aggregate from crushed waste concrete. The optimum average compressive strength of the bamboo-reinforced concrete was 25.2 MPa, 7.3% higher than that of the concrete without the fibers (23.4 MPa).

Team aims to improve safety of fertilizers made from wastewater sludge

Fertilizers manufactured from the sludgy leftovers of wastewater treatment processes can contain traces of potentially hazardous organic chemicals, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The findings could help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prioritize which organic compounds to investigate further.


Novel application of optical tweezers: colorfully showing molecular energy transfer

Researchers led by Osaka Metropolitan University showed a laser beam could be used to control Förster resonance energy transfer, a phenomenon where a donor molecule in an excited state transfers energy to an acceptor molecule. This discovery could have applications in the development of quantum dots.

Not all calcite crystals are as perfect as they appear

Argonne National Laboratory researchers used X-rays to image localized features within individual particles of calcite. This ability to identify such fragmentation in the crystalline structure may help in designing materials with optimized strength and toughness.

Researchers discover ecofriendly way to make ceramics inspired by nature

Researchers from City University of Hong Kong demonstrated that hydration and crystallization of ceramics can be controlled by compressing purely inorganic gels made from common ions found in organisms, such as calcium and magnesium. These gels can produce transparent ceramic tablets under mild pressure.

New computational tool for materials design

Researchers from University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Harvard University, Google, and OpenAI created a new computational toolbox to design materials that are easy to work with but still able to create complex functional materials.


New flat electronic bands predicted, paving way for advanced quantum materials

Rice University researchers predicted the existence of flat electronic bands at the Fermi level, a finding that could enable new forms of quantum computing and electronic devices.

Researchers develop new tunable anticounterfeiting material

Researchers at Western University used a new type of persistent luminescence nanomaterial to make goods with identifying markers harder to forge. The inorganic phosphor nanoparticles glow a specific shade of red when exposed to ultraviolet light and continue to glow for many seconds after initial exposure.

For students: International Youth Forum on Functional Glass and Optoelectronic Materials

The ACerS Glass & Optical Materials Division and the Chinese Ceramic Society are organizing the International Youth Forum on Functional Glass and Optoelectronic Materials in Qinhuangdao, China, from Aug. 29–Sept. 1, 2024. Ph.D. students and young scholars under the age of 45 can apply for funding by submitting a CV and abstract to before July 31.